Sudarshan Shetty returns to Delhi with solo show

New Delhi: Leading international artist Sudarshan Shetty, loves untold personal stories and uses mundane objects like recycled wood and broken ceramic to piece together a poetic art show which looks back in time while looking forward.

Shetty, whose work has been exhibited all over the world including the Tate Modern in London and New York’s Guggenheim Museum among others is showing in Delhi after a gap of 10 years.

Created especially for GallerySke, the Bangalore-based gallery which opened a new space in the city very recently, Shetty displays wooden sculptures, several mixed-media pieces and one video, placed at the entrance of the show titled “Every broken Moment, Piece by Piece.”

“The approximately 10 minute video depicting sarangi player Vasanthi Phulkande in a way establishes the theme of the show, which talks about untold histories,” the 52-year-old artist told PTI in an interview.

The video, is the first that the artist says he shot live. It is a triptych of the same image shot in three sequences in three spaces. When the musician plays tea cups placed on a table vibrate and eventually fall down and break.

“It has been shot in a chawl in Mumbai which is soon going to be razed down. It is similar to the one in which i grew up and it represents personal connections. It represents to me old Bombay which is fast changing,” says the artist who lives and works out of Mumbai.

Trained as a painter, Shetty has seemed to have forged a name creating awe-inspiring monumental sculptures and installations. His commissioned Flying Bus sculpture positioned in the suburbs of Mumbai depicts a red painted bus with huge steel wings and with its front wheels raised, giving an impression that it is poised to take flight.

His recent show features works that are smaller in scale but according to him is no less spectacular. “I like to use things which one may be familiar with yet kind of find a way to make them spectacular,” says Shetty.

Shetty leans three large wooden pieces sporting against one Wall of the gallery and out of them spouts wooden chairs with their seats jammed into the wood. “I have written three stories on the wood. It could belong to anybody’s history and the spectacle is the stories. I am playing with the notion of what is spectacle and what is domestic and can we bring them both into the same space of experience.”

The artists uses objects that he finds while scouring the streets and bazaars of Mumbai. For the show he sourced a lot of wooden doors from the second hand market there and reconfigured them into a modernistic pattern.

“The doors represent a lot of untold histories. Very often we fond names and scratches in the wood. It is in some way important becomes a combination of many histories in one piece. It is almost like those lost histories have been given new meaning and new form or existence, says Shetty.

“I am saying there has to be a way to look back while you look forward so how do you do that in an experience?”queries the artist.

Another piece of artwork he is exhibiting are a pair of commemorative ceramic busts but sans their heads. The heads are replaced by glasses filled with water.

“It is an effort to bring someone back into life. Busts are commemorative architectural structures to keep someone alive I am working with that gesture.” says the artist.

Shetty, frequently dips into poetry especially those written between the 12th and 15th century for inspiration.

“I have been very drawn to poetry especially of Kabir and goraknath I have been looking at the aesthetic strategy being employed by the doha. It creates a spectacle by presenting two opposing thoughts within the two lines .It is very speculative
space and is open ended and conveys the deeper idea of life,” says Shetty.

“God envies my mortality” writes Shetty in one the works in his show.

For the Delhi show, Shetty said he took one year to complete the artworks working with different sets of people with different skills. Next up on the agenda of Shetty is an commission for an international luxury brand, and a solo in Brussels.

The Delhi show, which began in January 12, coincides with the sixth edition of the upcoming India Art Fair and is set to go on till first week of March this year.